Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)
|"Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)"|
Original Brunswick 78 rpm record (1936)
|Song by Louis Prima|
|Format||10-inch 78 rpm record|
|Genre||Jazz, swing, big band|
"Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)" is a 1936 song, with music and lyrics by Louis Prima, who first recorded it with the New Orleans Gang. Brunswick Records released it on February 28, 1936 on the 78 rpm record format, with "It's Been So Long" as the B-side. The song is strongly identified with the big band and swing eras. Several have performed the piece as an instrumental, including Fletcher Henderson and, most famously, Benny Goodman.
Benny Goodman recording
On July 6, 1937, "Sing, Sing, Sing" was recorded in Hollywood with Benny Goodman on clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, and Chris Griffin on trumpets; Red Ballard and Murray McEachern on trombones; Hymie Schertzer and George Koenig on alto saxophones; Art Rollini and Vido Musso on tenor saxophone; Jess Stacy on piano; Allan Reuss on guitar; Harry Goodman on bass; and Gene Krupa on drums. The song was arranged by Jimmy Mundy. Unlike most big band arrangements of that era, limited in length to three minutes so that they could be recorded on one side of a standard 10-inch 78-rpm record, the version which Goodman’s band recorded was an extended work. The 1937 recording lasted 8 min 43 seconds, and it took up both sides of a 12-inch 78. At its longest, a live recording (with impromptu solos) was recorded and took 12 min 30 sec. Mundy's arrangement incorporated "Christopher Columbus," a piece written by Chu Berry for the Fletcher Henderson band, as well as Prima's work. Fletcher Henderson recorded an early version ten years before in 1927. The 1937 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1982.
In their 1966 book Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya: The Story Of Jazz As Told By The Men Who Made It, music critics Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff quote Goodman as saying, "'Sing, Sing, Sing' (which we started doing back at the Palomar on our second trip there in 1936) was a big thing, and no one-nighter was complete without it." Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall jazz concert was different from the commercial release and from subsequent performances with the Goodman band. The personnel of the Goodman band for the Carnegie Hall concert were the same as in the 1937 recording session, except Vernon Brown replaced Murray McEachern on trombone, and Babe Russin replaced Vido Musso on tenor sax.
Goodman's solo is more introspective in the Carnegie performance, with a wider range of dynamics and colors, with Krupa playing a pulsating tom-tom accompaniment accented on the third beat of the measure behind Goodman for the first half of the solo, while Jess Stacy inserts minor-chord punctuations. Goodman's solo evolves to a driving 'four' feel before quietly giving way to Stacy's famous solo, a four-chorus, chromatic impressionistic masterpiece widely analyzed by pianists both jazz and classical. Stacy was quoted as saying he was glad he did not know Goodman was going to let him solo, because then he would have gotten nervous and "screwed it up." For the 1955 recording recreating the Carnegie Hall performance for the movie The Benny Goodman Story, Stacy declined to participate and there was no piano solo, because he was only offered minimum wage for his efforts.
In popular culture
Benny Goodman's Orchestra performs this song in the 1938 film Hollywood Hotel.
- "Louis Prima in Chronology 1935-1936" album; Complete jazz Series Collection; Classics (viewed on Google Play Music)
- "GRAMMY Hall Of Fame". The GRAMMYs. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
- Shapiro, Nat, and Hentoff, Nat. Hear Me Talkin' to Ya: The Story of Jazz As Told by the Men Who Made It. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1966. (Access Page 320 from Google Books.)
- Whitney Balliett, "Back from Valhalla", American Musicians II